In an effort toward interoperability in Southern California, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is taking steps to upgrade its 911 dispatch center to work with neighboring fire agencies, Fire Chief Brian Cummings told the Los Angeles Times. This, he said, will help ensure the closest available rescuers are sent to victims during life-threatening emergencies.

Cummings told The Times that he'd like to see a seamless network that connects dispatch systems across municipal borders -- potential partners, according to The Times, include the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Long Beach Fire Department and the consolidated dispatch center that covers Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and nine other cities.

The department is in the early stages of developing the computer system designed to work with these dispatch centers, but to make the plan work, the other agencies will have to pay for similar upgrades.

"A system like that would provide the highest level of coverage," Cummings said, adding that the upgrade would cost $12 million to $14 million for each department that connects, and take three to five years to complete.

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